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Posts Tagged ‘Joel Armia’

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More fireworks

It looks as though the days of the meek and mild Buffalo Sabres are over.  No longer a franchise that doesn’t rock the boat, and skims along as safely as possible, Buffalo made a big splash with the trade acquisition of Robyn Regehr this past weekend.

Regehr gives the Sabres just the kind of shut-down defenseman they have been sorely lacking.  His addition is huge for Buffalo and it will show once the season starts.  Regehr will quickly become a fan favorite.  Buffalo GM Darcy Regier found his bag of “Jedi Mind Tricks” and performed one on Calgary.

The Sabres are now talking about acquiring another veteran defenseman, either through free agency or a trade.  Buffalo would have at least three strong components on the blue line with Tyler Myers, Regehr and a possible near-future acquisition.  Ryan Miller should be sleeping easier.

 

Fireworks should be going off on Friday when free agency begins.  The Sabres are looking to sign a big name scoring center, which is a surprise to no one.  Do they believe that Brad Richards would be a good fit?  Will they go in a different direction?  Would they possibly make a trade to bring in a first-line center?  At the very least, it looks like the Sabres will not be on the sidelines come July 1st.

 

Buffalo’s draft this past weekend looks quite strong as of now.  Things can certainly change over the next 3-4 years but I like a lot of the players they picked.  Maybe Joel Armia pans out as a legit scoring threat as a first-line right wing down the road.  The Sabres took a couple of promising centers (Dan Catenacci and Colin Jacobs) that were projected to go earlier than where they were selected.  I like that they took some chances on players like goalie Nathan Lieuwen in the sixth round and Wisconsin high school center Brad Navin in the seventh round.  Both players are a bit on the “boom or bust” side of things, but why not take some chances like that in the later rounds?

The Sabres re-stocked their cabinet for centers with Catenacci, Jacobs and Navin joining Kevin Sundher, Steve Shipley and “sometimes center” Luke Adam.  Wouldn’t hurt to add a couple more centers in the 2012 draft.

The Sabres now look to be lacking mostly at left wing among the minor pros and juniors.  Marcus Foligno, Jacob Lagace, Riley Boychuk and Cedric Henley make up the LW group.  There needs to be an influx of youngsters at that position over the next couple of years.

Buffalo has a strong grouping of prospects.  Jhonas Enroth heads up the goaltending part of things… Mark Pysyk, Brayden McNabb, Drew Schiestel, T.J. Brennan and Jerome-Gauthier Leduc highlight the blue liners… Armia, Zack Kassian, Adam, Foligno, Catenacci, Sundher, Jacobs and Corey Tropp head up the forwards.  It may not be as talent-rich as some other clubs, but it’s a grouping that has to rank in the top half of the league.

 

 

Friday’s craziness

The hangup with Robyn Regehr looks to have come to an end.  We are to assume that Regehr will be coming to Buffalo along with shoot-out champion, and former Sabre, Ales Kotalik.  Supposedly the Sabres are moving Paul Byron, Chris Butler and a second-round pick in 2012 to Calgary.

With that soap opera behind us, the Sabres and fans can now devote more attention to the draft today, as it ended up being obstructed Friday with the Regehr trade being in limbo for most of the day and evening.

When the Sabres did make their pick at #16, they took Finnish RW Joel Armia.  Armia played in Finland’s top league with Assat Pori.  He scored 18 goals and had 29 points.  Armia has good skating ability for a big kid (6’3, 195) and finds ways to make room for himself in the offensive zone.

Armia’s best quality is his shot.  He has an excellent wrist shot that finds the net.  His bread-and-butter in pro hockey, and has been up to this point, is scoring goals.  The Sabres need more offense and Armia can be a player down the road to supply that.

He’s not afraid to get into traffic when in the slot or near the net.  Definitely has an eye for scoring goals and doesn’t seem to shy away from the high traffic areas in that regard.

Looks a bit like a swift-skating Dave Andreychuk.  Armia gets some garbage goals at times, but how often have the Sabres in recent years been surrounding the opposing net, only to be possessing an uncanny inability of parking home goals?  Maybe Armia will help in that area.

Armia’s drawbacks are occasional lacks of intensity, motivation and not owning much of a sense for any form of defensive hockey.  Sounds a bit like Thomas Vanek when he was at the University of Minnesota, and was tagged a one-dimensional offensive player.

Overall, the Armia selection is a good pick.  He would have been drafted in the next 3-5 selections had the Sabres taken another player.   Buffalo should be focusing on centers today, and also their BPAs on their lists.  Sabres head scout Kevin Devine has insinuated that the team may move up to the second round today.  There’s several quality offensive players (centers) to be had in the second round.  Let’s see if Buffalo gets creative.

Sabres Select Joel Armia at 16

The Buffalo Sabres selected Finnish right wing Joel Armia with their first round draft pick (16th overall).  Armia is 6’3″ and 18something (depending on the publication you read and believe).  He can skate, has great hands, great shot and impressed the Sabres at the WJC’s.

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